Elizabeth taylor

From Cleopatra to Elizabeth Taylor, women have found jewels irresistible

When workmen demolished an ancient building in Cheapside in 1912 they saw something glinting out of a broken wooden box. They had stumbled on what became known as the Cheapside Hoard – a collection of jewels dating from around 1600, its star, the Cheapside Emerald, a wonderful stone holding a miniature watch. It came from Colombia, still the source of the world’s finest emeralds, probably the world’s most ancient gems. The first recorded instance of them is on an Egyptian papyrus around 2400 BC. Their beauty and rarity made them the favourite of the élite, with Cleopatra probably their most famous fan. The Rockefeller Emerald fetched $5.5 million in 2017.

Why are we so squeamish about describing women’s everyday experiences?

The way that language is shaped by the facts of biological sex is a rich subject. (The way that biological sex is framed, and sometimes refuses to be shaped, by language is perhaps one for another day.) Some languages have evolved forms which are distinctly those of male or female users. Japanese has speech patterns described as male or female, such as (male) the informal use of da instead of desu. There are scripts used exclusively among women, such as the syllabic Nüshu in Hunan, China. Many languages have gendered grammatical forms in ways that are not just metaphorical. Nouns such as ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ are masculine and feminine in

Riveting and sumptuous: The Motive and the Cue, at the Lyttelton Theatre, reviewed

The Motive and the Cue breaches the inviolable sanctity of the rehearsal room. The play, set in New York in 1964, follows John Gielgud’s efforts to direct the world’s biggest film star, Richard Burton, in Shakespeare’s most demanding play, Hamlet. A member of Gielgud’s company, Richard L. Sterne, recorded the process and his notes form the basis of Sam Mendes’s riveting production. The show is a must for anyone who works in the theatre or wants to. Directors, in particular, will relish the glimpse it offers into Gielgud’s approach to a uniquely demanding text and to a wayward superstar who was free to accept or to challenge the notes given

The day Elizabeth Taylor kidnapped my daughter

New York Back in the good old days the Carlyle Hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side was the hotel for Yankee swells, rich politicians such as JFK, and, of course, upper-class Eurotrash. Both my children were born at a hospital nearby, and both newborns spent their first month of life at the hotel. Alexandra and I would leave our nearby brownstone, which was more upside down, and move to the Carlyle, which was more sideways, thanks to my dad’s generosity. We were given the presidential suite with round-the-clock service and doctor availability galore. While waiting for her brother to be born, my five-year-old Lolly had the run of the hotel